With Bromst, Dan Deacon achieved a near-perfect balance between introspective electro-acoustics and party-starting jams. It's no surprise, then, that his follow-up takes both elements of his eclectic sound further than ever before. Splitting the LP in two halves, side one follows in the footsteps of Bromst. Opener "Guilford Avenue Bridge" lays out plinking keyboards overtop pounding drums as the track builds into a chaotic mess. "True Thrush" is the closest thing the Baltimore musician has ever come to writing a traditional pop song, albeit one about feeling lost in cultural homogenization. It peaks with "Prettyboy," a slow building descendant of the epic coda of "Layla," and is the most direct link between the album's first five tracks and its flipside's four-part "USA" suite. A more textured, meditative approach, its peaks and valleys, according to Deacon, match those of the A-side. But its ambitious scope sets it apart from the rest of the album while simultaneously magnifying the "more of the same" vibe of the record's front half. By no means a washout, America is sure to please old fans and appeal to new ones. But by separating his musical personalities into two neat piles, Deacon stopped short of creating a truly epic record. We'll have to settle for just a pretty great one instead.
Read an interview with Dan Deacon here. (Domino)